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Extra support for children in mainstream schools

Posted on Wednesday 24th January 2024

Up to 800 children might benefit each year from the new initiative.

Increased early intervention has been launched for children needing support in the classroom.

Staffordshire County Council is funding schools to step in at the first opportunity to help children with special educational needs progress at their local mainstream school.

And it’s estimated up to 800 children might benefit across the county each year at a time when the demand for special educational needs support in Staffordshire schools has risen by 30 per cent in the last five years, surpassing the national average.  

Jonathan Price, Stafford County Council’s Cabinet member for Children and Young People, said:

Parents tell us that they would prefer their children to be educated close to home alongside their friends and we are doing all we can to support that and keep them in mainstream schools wherever possible.

Demand is rising and this initiative is designed to provide support in the classroom quickly and effectively.”

More than 21,000 children in Staffordshire require support in school, which is approximately 16 per cent of the total school population.  

The new approach, called ‘Enhanced Assess, Plan, Do, Review’, has been developed in partnership with parents, carers, healthcare professionals, schools, and colleges, with over 300 individuals contributing their thoughts and feedback. 

More than 900 professionals joined training sessions throughout December to ensure they are equipped to effectively use this new approach in their schools.  

£1.2m has been identified from existing budgets to support the new approach and the authority is committing educational psychology resources as part of the process.

Jonathan Price added:

This initiative represents a significant move forward in our dedication to supporting children and young people with special educational needs.

Our goal is to deliver swifter and more effective assistance for children displaying signs of need." 

As well as making a practical difference for the pupil in school, the new approach also aims to improve liaison across different organisations, only ask families to ‘tell their story once’ and improve record keeping prior to any assessment for statutory support.

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